English Christmas Pudding is really a dense, moist spiced cake originally known as Plum Pudding. This gingerbread version of Christmas Pudding is flavored with orange marmalade and topped with a traditional hard sauce (butter and sugar mixed with brandy).
History: Plum pudding is a steamed or boiled pudding frequently served at holiday times, especially Christmas. Plum pudding has never contained plums. The name Christmas pudding is first recorded in 1858 in a novel by Anthony Trollope.
During the Puritan reign in England, plum pudding was outlawed as “sinfully rich.” Traditionally in England, small silver charms were baked in the plum pudding. A silver coin would bring wealth in the coming year; a tiny wishbone, good luck; a silver thimble, thrift; an anchor, safe harbor. By Victorian times, only the silver coin remained. In England these tiny charms can still be bought by families who make their own puddings. It is also traditional for every one who lives in the household to simultaneously hold onto the wooden spoon, help stir the batter for the pudding, and make a wish.
Gingerbread Christmas Pudding with Orange Hard Sauce:
Source: This recipe and photo are from Bon Appetit Magazine, December 2001.